Stoke City have been dealt a devastating blow as Tyrese Campbell has been ruled out for a significant amount of time.
The 20-year-old limped off in midweek against Cardiff City with a knee injury, and Stoke’s worst fears were confirmed when a specialist informed the Potters of the damage suffered.
Campbell, son of former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin, has netted six times and assisted seven goals in 16 league appearances this season, and he has been Stoke’s main creative spark going forward.
That leaves Michael O’Neill very thin on the ground when it comes to attacking reinforcements, so it’s a good job that the transfer window will re-open in a few weeks where you assume a Campbell replacement will be sought.
But for now it’s up to the current Stoke squad to step up to the plate, including these two players who will be looking to fill the massive Campbell-shaped void in O’Neill’s side.
Brown was a summer recruit from fellow Championship side Barnsley, and he’s played all across the front three since he arrived at the Bet365 Stadium.
But he’s netted just one goal in 16 appearances and O’Neill will have hoped for more of an end product from his £2 million man.
He’s come off the bench for quite a few of his showings, but you’d expect that he’s the natural Campbell replacement for now, and he will be expected to chip in with more goal contributions.
The Belgian winger was once seen as Stoke’s most promising youngster, but after cameo appearances for the Potters and a successful loan spell at Bolton last season, he’s slipped down O’Neill’s pecking order.
He’s not been on the pitch for the first team since picking up an injury against Preston in February, but he has made the bench in the last four games due to Stoke’s injury crisis.
With Campbell now stricken, this may now be the time for Verlinden to come of age as the club lack depth on the flanks, and he’s a player that fans are calling for O’Neill to start to use.